Sinag Maynila returns for another round this year, with a quintet of films that “not only inspires but educates and enlightens Filipino movie audiences.” The Solar Entertainment-backed film festival, founded in 2015 by Wilson Tieng and “Ma Rosa” director, Brillante Mendoza, showcases five films—notably all transgressive—from directors such as Yam Laranas, Richard Somes, and Jay Altarejos. In addition to the main five, Sinag Maynila is also hosting two sections for short features and documentary films. Sinag Maynila starts from March 7th thru the 14th.
Our festival guide follows.
Sinag Maynila’s main competition consists of five full-length features.
2018 / Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Director: Yam Laranas Screenplay: Paolo Vacirca and Oscar Fogelstrom Cast: Tippy Dos Santos, Maritoni Fernandez, Justine Peña
A young woman found unconscious in a city street claims to be another person who was brutally murdered two months earlier. She escapes from the psychiatric hospital in which she’s confined to prove her identity and find out the truth about her life, death, and murderer.
2018 / Drama
Director: Ralston G. Jover Screenplay: Ralston G. Jover and Dennis C. Evangelista Cast: Allen Dizon, Allan Paule, Sue Prado, Angeline Nicholle Sanoy
Pipo makes ends meet by taking on the toughest jobs.Life is more difficult because he’s deaf.He supports himself and his teenage lover Cyril. His irate boss is getting difficult and Ben, his childhood friend wants his daughter Cyril back. Like a bomb,Pipo’s ticking to explode, anytime soon.
2018 / Drama, Horror
Director: Richard Somes Screenplay: Richard V. Somes and Boo Dabu Cast: Mon Confiado, Jean Judith Javier, Alvin Anson
ABNER (Mon Confiado) lives a drab, downcast, solitary existence. His wife has abandoned him for good. Working for pest control company Panther, his job remains his sole connection to the outside world. It seems going nowhere until he meets VIOLA (Jean Judith Javier), a client who is existence is as sad as his. Wife of a vain college teacher DODIE (Alvin Anson), Viola is a trapped bird. And meeting Abner seems to give her a chance to fly free. The house, infested with rats all around, becomes a powder keg of emotions and danger as sexual tension between Abner and Viola turns to illicit affair, all happening under Dodie’s nose. In order to extend their relationship, Abner devices something that will eventually lead to a tragedy that will change their lives forever.
2018 / Drama
Director: Matthew Victor Pastor Screenplay: Celina Yuen and Matthew Victor Pastor Cast: Celina Yuen, Bridget O’Brien, Rachel Javier
Director: Jay Altarejos Screenplay: May de los Santos Cast: Oliver Aquino, Ta Su, Kristel Romero
The story of the friendship between two men — Alex (Oliver Aquino), a Filipino mechanic, and Jerry (Ta Su), a Taiwanese aborigine student. The two meet randomly when Alex flees to Taipei from Manila, upon learning that his girlfriend is pregnant. A casual conversation develops into a surprising personal connection between them. Both realize that they yearn for a more intimate connection with their mothers since Alex’s abandoned him for a new family while Jerry is afraid that his traditional parents will reject him for being gay. The two men go on a road trip and end up at Jerry’s tribe. The trip eventually makes them reconnect with their mothers and both discover a certain sense of identity and freedom.
More Festival Categories
Short Films & Documentaries
Switch in-between tabs to show the entries for the Short Features and Documentary Films categories.
A film about a man, who’s plainly surviving his extinguished married life for companionship. They have simply stopped communicating. Cesar tries to bring back the spark of their relationship by mimicking an ideal woman. He is yet to discover the uncertainty of how his wife, Magda, would absorb the transformation.
Direction: Odin B. Fernandez Screenplay: Odin B. Fernandez
While working far from home to make ends meet, Boyet is called back to his family in rural Philippines after his young daughter Abby goes missing. His distraught wife, Tata, believes their child was taken by the duwende, a mythical creature from Filipino folklore that steals children from their homes. Boyet investigates and discovers that the truth is much harder to bear.
Direction: Jill Singson Urdaneta Screenplay: Bernard Umali
Three decades. That’s how long Marga practically dictated the fate of her country. She was the PR mastermind behind tumultuous events that rocked national stability like rallies and coups. She engineered the honors the brought pride to her fellowmen. She pulled the strings that dragged the economy down. A social firestarter. A political puppeteer. A morality spin doctor. For the agenda of the people in power and for her personal gain. But the fires she started are growing. The people she has puppeted are out to get her. And her life is spinning beyond her control. Can she still mastermind the mess she has created?
Direction: John Agcalis Screenplay John Agcalis, Dawn Israel, and Zevs Teodoro
This is a story of a two people Tisoy and Kulot who are hooked up in using illegal drugs until one session causes frightening hallucinations.
Direction: Tom Nava Screenplay: Tom Nava
A local radio station named Kalye FM, hosted by DJ “Papa Marco”, received a phone call from a random caller who introduced as “Toto” which narrates his sad story about how his live-in partner left him. As the conversation goes by, Toto wasn’t able to control his emotions and broke down in tears. Papa Marco understood that he needed some comfort to ease the pain. Little did He know that Toto was hiding a bigger sorrow and guilt behind those tears.
Direction: AJ Amar Screenplay: Carissa Joyce Reyo, Melody Ruth Lacson, and AJ Amar
The story takes us to the glorious days of Pagsanjan, Laguna. Through the eyes of Lando, an unfortunate victim of pedophilia. At a very young age, the poor boy had to break away from innocence to be his family’s provider. His mother, Filomena, only wanted to lift their lives from the dusk, and through the needs of Tommy, an Australian tourist, she met answers. Lando had been chained to a trapped pact, and there is no way out.
Written and Directed by: Dexter Macaraeg
The documentary focuses on Norma Agaid-Mina, a weaver of Tingguian textiles from Penarrubia, Abra all her life. This documentary holds ups to the light, the expressive fibers of Tingguian culture, as well as strength and resilience of the weavers who make this into a tapestry of life.
Directed by: Kristine Anne Escamillas Written by: Maria Katrina De La Cruz
This documentary focuses on two dogs whose roles with their respective owners’ lives transcend being “man’s best friend”.
Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story
Directed by: Albert Alemdralejo and Maricel Cariaga
The documentary tells the journey of Simone Rota, an Italian football player with Filipino roots.
Written and Directed by: Janine Patricia Santos
The documentary is an autoethnographic experimental documentary composed of shot and donated footages about a millennial ilustrado and her life as a scholar from the ‘Third World’ being confronted with ‘First World’ experiences. It tackles issues of identity, displacement, the spectre of comparison, 2nd class citizenship, nationality and the privileged position of belonging in the academe, all disguised in the everyday struggles of sustaining a long distance relationship. Seen from the point of view of the one who writes to a lover left behind, (Mahal, 2017) serves as a reference to the daily battles of a scholar who is burdened with the choice of reconciling the need to find solutions to the social problems of her country and the desire to live a reactionary life with the person she loves.
The documentary chronicles the life story of a taxi driver, “tatay” Roderic Almeda, who sells peanut butter inside his cab. His sick son and wife is his inspiration in working very hard. This documentary strengthens the saying that Filipinos are really hardworking and willing to do anything to have enough income for their family. Not just one but two work and duty at the same time. Problems are always present in our life but let’s see how “tatay” Roderic will face these conflicts.
Directed by: Jaimee D. Bernardo Written by: Rose Dungca
Voltaire Velasco Perez, 56 years old, is known as a Dry Leaf Painting Artist from the Philippines in the global field of painting. Take a peek into his history and witness to the journey and struggles of a simple painter towards becoming a master of the arts.
Screening Schedules and Venues
Sinag Maynila has partnered with SM as venue hosts for the festival. As such, the films in the festival will be screened at selected SM Cinemas, listed as follows:
SM Mall of Asia
SM North EDSA
SM Sta. Mesa
SM South Mall
The screening schedules for respective cinemas follow: